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September has been one of those months where it's been a challenge to find consistency outside of the kitchen. Earlier this month, we said goodbye to my grandparents, scattering their ashes in the Monterey Bay, followed by a trip down south to visit family and a never ending search for our family cat and a couple of trips to the vet for another one. Finding time to read, let alone sit down and write a blog post or two has proven difficult. Hoping in the next few weeks to get back into something of a normal routine–harvest festival is coming up and it'll soon be baking weather (it's been over 100º several times in the last week and I am so ready for cooler temperatures!)
With today being the first day of autumn, I thought it would be appropriate to share one of my family's favorite recipes: apple hand pies! With two apple trees in the back yard, we have apples coming out of our ears with the excess ones actually being thrown out onto the hillside for pigs and other wildlife to nibble on. We've made batches of apple sauce, apple butter, apple spice cupcakes (recipe will appear here soon) and these easy to make apple pies. They're delicious warm from the oven served with a dollop of vanilla ice cream, or room temperature for breakfast with a steaming cup of joe.
The best part of this recipe, in my humble opinion, is the relative ease in which these individual pies come together. You don't need any special tools and the clean-up is minimal. You can use store bought pie dough if you prefer, otherwise select the flakiness pie dough recipe you can find (we like this one.) If you're low on apples, you can do a mixture of apples and pears for the ultimate autumn dessert. Our pear tree popped early, so sadly all we have had to work with is apples.
As simple as these pies are, they make an elegant dessert for dinner parties so of course we have some wine pairing suggestions for you: Tawny Port to bring out hidden caramel flavors, Gewürztraminer for highlighted cinnamon flavors, or Moscato d'Asti for the buttery-pastry lovers out there who love their wines a bit sweeter with less alcohol.
- 4 tart apples, peeled, cored and cut into small chunks (about 3 cups)
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon cardamom
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 1 large egg, beaten with 1 teaspoon milk
Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 370º. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper–very important not to use wax paper!!
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into large circles about 1/8 inch thick. Using a cookie cutter or another circular shaped object (I used a mason lid!) , cut out eight 6 or 7 inch circles of dough. Re-roll the scraps of dough for another 2 or 3 circles. Place the circles on the baking sheet and cool in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes.
Toss together the apple chunks, lemon juice, brown sugar, cinnamon, cardamom and flour.
Remove dough from the refrigerator and around the edges, lightly brush each circle with the egg wash. Divide the filling amongst the dough. Fold the dough over the filling to make a half-moon or if you have extra dough, place another circle on top like I have done. Be sure to press the edges together firmly, using a fork to seal them. Brush the top with the remaining egg wash.
Bake until the pies are puffed and golden brown and oozing liquid, about 27-29 minutes. Set aside on a wire rack to cool.
If desired, make a glaze to put on top:
- 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon extract (if you don't have cinnamon extract, simply double the vanilla.)
- 1 tablespoon water